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Volume 22 No. 15
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Blue Diamond lands on Kings’ jersey, apron

The Sacramento Kings are now the second NBA team to sell advertising on game jerseys, with locally based Blue Diamond Growers signing on.

Team and company executives declined to comment on the value of the three-year deal, but a source familiar with the agreement said Sacramento-based Blue Diamond will pay around $5 million per year to put its name on the team’s jersey as part of a new sponsorship deal with the franchise.

The jersey patch will appear starting with the 2017-18 season, while the apron signage begins this season.
Photo by: SACRAMENTO KINGS
Blue Diamond Growers is a cooperative made up of more than 3,000 growers that produce 80 percent of the world’s almonds.

In addition to putting its company name on the 2.5-by-2.5-inch jersey patch for the 2017-18 season, Blue Diamond also will put the logo of its Blue Diamond Almond Breeze almond milk brand on the floor apron in front of both team benches beginning this season at the new Golden 1 Center.

Blue Diamond almond products will be sold at arena concession kiosks as part of the deal. The agreement also includes traditional elements such as in-arena signage.

Beginning next season, Kings jerseys with the ad patch will be sold at the retail shop inside the Golden 1 Center, which opened this month.

The agreement comes after the NBA in mid-April approved a measure that allows teams to sell jersey patch advertising beginning with the 2017-18 season, becoming the first of the big four U.S. stick-and-ball leagues to permit uniform branding outside of apparel suppliers.

The Kings’ deal follows the Philadelphia 76ers’ jersey patch deal it made with StubHub in May also for a reported $5 million per year.

“This is a very authentic deal and we are like-minded in our values and how we want to promote our brands,” said Kings President Chris Granger. “Blue Diamond is based here and produces the most recognizable brand that comes out of Sacramento.”

No agencies were used in the deal.

NBA rules call for jersey patch revenue to be split equally between the league and the team, with the length of the deals limited to three years as the league tests the jersey advertising program.

“We had a mutual affinity between our brands for five or six years, but what came together was the ability to put the logo on the jersey and the new arena,” said Mark Jansen, chief executive officer of Blue Diamond. “It allows us to reach beyond Sacramento to national and international markets where our brand is recognized. Our marketing needed to reach beyond Sacramento, and the jersey and the apron allows that.”

While the Kings partnership is new for Blue Diamond, the company is no stranger to sports marketing. Blue Diamond sponsored the U.S. Olympic swimming and volleyball teams in Rio, and it was a sponsor of the U.S. ski and snowboarding teams at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

“We have a track record and we know how to create a mutually beneficial partnership,” Jansen said. “In the Kings case, it is a good match to reinforce that we are entirely sourced from California almonds.”